If President Bush wants to make a “diversity” pick for a Supreme Court nomination, must he swim shallow or deep in the pool of conservative minority and female possibilities?
Conventional wisdom last week suggested that Bush, after tapping Judge John Roberts, a white male, for the position of chief justice, was unlikely to name another white male for the remaining high court vacancy, the seat currently held by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the first female justice.
Of course, conventional wisdom immediately after O’Connor announced her impending retirement held that Bush would maintain or increase diversity on the high court in filling her seat, but he initially nominated Roberts, only to renominate him as chief justice following the death of William H. Rehnquist. So much for conventional wisdom.
But speculation is a key atmospheric element for survival for many inside the Beltway, and, last week, racial, ethnic and gender diversity marked the potential candidacies of names flying on and off the White House’s alleged “short list.”
Some names have been on the “list” for two or three Republican administrations: for example, Edith Jones and Emilio M. Garza of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and U.S. District Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa in Texas.
Others have emerged more recently by virtue of their connection to the president himself, either having worked in his administration, for example, former Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson, now general counsel at PepsiCo Inc., or having been appointed by him to the bench, such as 9th Circuit Judge Consuelo Callahan.